Driving Rental Car In Iceland

The Best Methods To Get Around Foreign Lands

October 3, 2022 in Engineering Around Travel

Finding a meaningful way of moving around from points A to B while traveling can provide challenges. Across the world, different cultures and laws affect the ease of travel. However, as we’ve traveled our adventures, this is generally what has worked well for us and the considerations we take as we travel. So let’s dive in and explore the best methods to get around foreign lands.

Hiring a guide that is knowledgeable and can drive

One strategy that has worked very well us is hiring a private driver or guide in the local area that speaks our language well. They also prove they know local history, customs, and curiosities. We generally have a firm idea of where we want to go, but a good guide will have all sorts of ideas to throw into it. The personal drivers and guides we’ve hired in the past do tend to stand out. After some screening, we met some excellent guides that have drastically improved our experience.

Benefits:

  • They can help explain the local history, customs, and issues and translate for you.
  • They add context and perspective of a local to questions that arise during the adventure.
  • They are flexible to your schedule and often provide their vehicle for where you need to go.

On the bad side:

  • It can be considerably more pricey than other options.
  • It is a close relationship; if your personalities don’t match, it could detract from the experience.

Local public transportation

Local transportation options can present some challenges while traveling in foreign lands. Public information, websites, and signage may not cater to your language. You can get around this using some technology that helps translate languages dynamically. Still, it is not fluid, and misunderstandings are easily made of the communication border. Public transportation can work out quite well in your favor with proper research, communication, and a plan. It is by far the cheapest option.

Benefits:

  • Cheapest option

On the bad side:

  • Limited routes, distance covered, and time schedules
  • Not everywhere may be easy to consume or use as a foreigner

Local Flights, Trains, or Buses in foreign lands

On travel, you can have a significant distance between where you want to be and where you are. It is good to plan and look into mass transportation options locally, such as local flights, trains, or buses. We’ve taken all these options at different points. Each has its pros and cons, but ultimately, its purpose is to save you time at the cost of money to get you across a large space faster.

Benefits:

  • Closes from point A to B quickly and helps converge vast distances in some countries or across borders.
  • Mass transportation options generally have good signage and translations for foreigners. They have enough staff to help accommodate needs too.

On the bad side:

  • These often must be planned to avoid price gouging or no available tickets.
  • Many flights, trains, and buses have schedules, and you must research that schedule to align with your trip.

Day tours with specialized vehicles

Some countries, be it Iceland and driving across glaciers, the Middle East and driving in the desert, or 4x4ing up a mountainside. These types of driving take a good amount of skill and sometimes specialized equipment/vehicles. For these activities, be prepared to take local day tours. Book ahead and get in a spot, as they sometimes have limited availability! It often mitigates risk to your safety, and the locals know the ins and outs of hazards better the foreigners.

Benefits:

  • It can be the only way to see certain places or take part in some activities safely and within a reasonable amount of time.

On the bad side:

  • It needs to be scheduled.
  • The company offers this as a service and can be a bit more expensive.

Uber and Taxis in foreign lands

Uber (or other ride-share competitors) and Taxi services are stable worldwide. They can often only be used near significant cities, but they are a solid alternative for public transportation. In addition, Uber and Taxi services are our stable go-to for arriving at most airports in foreign lands.

Benefits:

  • It is pretty flexible and competitively priced.
  • In many major countries, ride share and taxis frequently visit tourist areas.

On the bad side:

  • There are a lot of scams, particularly with taxis in some countries. Aggressive drivers may try to rip you off. This has happened to us with taxi drivers but not ride-share services.

Renting a car

The ultimate form of flexibility. Renting your car can be more pricey than you think. In some countries, they drive on the opposite side of the road than you are used to or drive much differently. All these things can create tension in your trip. Visiting some places like Iceland and Namibia (for example), a lot of the culture and tourism is built around you renting your vehicle. It is a great option when there is a lot to see within a fair distance of each other. Driving long distances on vacation is not always fun, and better options exist to close the space faster.

Benefits:

  • Go where you want, when you want.

On the bad side:

  • Safety and risk mitigation is in your own hands
  • Driving culture can vary, leading to some culture shock that could be deadly.
  • Priced per day and sometimes by mileage, it can add up over a long trip.

We hope this breakdown helps you get some ideas and better judgment in finding the best methods to get around foreign lands! Travel-Wise was built to help inform travelers and make travel more accessible and less risky than ever. If you enjoyed this article, please check out our other ones here!

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